Originally Posted by flow
Which method has been proven for you to be superior for Hypertrophy?
My honest opinion...
Strength building. Nothing else really matters to me, and for 95% of natural muscle builders that aren't approaching late intermediate and advanced stages. The natural trainee you can get very far without varying anything. I don't change exercises ever and don't believe it's necessary. It is my opinion you can get to 85-90% of your muscle building potential without doing anything fancy. That last 10-15% is hard and more complicated.
I know from personal experience, as a natural real close to Casey's mass predictions, that the last 10-15% for me was more a function of time than anything. Gains are halved about every year, and nothing magical is going to change this by any substantial degree. Advanced bodybuilders don't (ever) get huge muscle gain spurts. They have to turn into muckers and grinders rather that acrobats and elites powerlifters. My opinion is based on myself and all the elites I work with.
I think far too many people over-complicate things before they need to, worried too much about sets, reps, volume, etc. When strength is almost all that matters. Let's face it, it's rare to see natural, lean arms over 16.5" on bodybuilding forums. But when you do see them, it generally happened quickly (2-4 years) because they rapidly improved their strength on mostly compound lifts. Guys that aren't here yet don't need magic or to worry about anything other than strength on beefy lifts.
Everything seems to work, because everything can work if progression is applied. Programs need to fit the lifter. Some never need to periodize, some do. All need to get much stronger.
I speak to the elite of the elite in the natural bodybuilding realm and I can tell you none of them, that I know of, periodize to any substantial degree. They train like freaks, and train year in and year out generally with a high tolerance for volume. They are very strong, but not super-elite powerlifting strong. Most of them never change the core exercises. There are some that swap for the sake of variety, and for various other personal reasons, but most don't.
I am not advocating the lack of periodizationn. I'm simply stating facts. The biggest guys are muckers and grinders and continue to lift hard over the years.
Regarding some of the points in the initial post, I feel we need to bring a few things up to keep everthing in a proper frame of reference.
Westside is an advanced program for (generally) advanced powerlifters and not really applicable here. Westside changes exercises based on the science that maximal training on the same exercise for longer than 3 weeks brings a limited return on investment.
This doesn't apply in the same way for natural hypertrophy for the Average Joe because 95% of naturals looking to build muscle are not approaching the late-intermediate and advanced stages of bodybuilding, and can progress in strength without having to resort to the theory behind Westside.
Now for advanced bodybuilders one could argue that they still need to increase strength to add that extra half pound of muscle per year, and you'll get no argument from me here. But in my experience elite natural bodybuilders are very strong, but not at that next level of strength that elite natural powerlifters are. They reach a point where strength is not the prime focus. They may still add strength, but most tend to add volume and advanced training techniques while slowly, indirectly, adding more strength.
I personally believe time with heavy iron, and perhaps added volume to be a bigger factor in getting that last 15% for naturals than going from a 600 to a 700 deadlift.
DC training is a system focused on progression, but the exercise rotation is very much focused on near-advanced level bodybuilders. For you to stall frequently you need to be very strong as is. You certainly can't be undereating on DC training because they advocate a bulking system that would make a powerlifter happy.
For a natural, you will already have built up a quality amount of beef to be in the position where you are stalling on a lift frequently. For this reason I think the switching of exercises is a non-issue for the 95% of natural muscle builders who are not near late intermediate/advanced level, and not close to soft strength walls.
DC works, obviously because of it's hardcore focus on progression, and the exercise rotation is not going to hinder and early intermediate because they are progressing on similar lifts, but I also don't believe it's any more beneficial than sticking with the same exercise over the long run.
Wendlers is not applicable to hypertrophy because the mini-periodization is for strength building. If you are muscle building on Wendler's it will be far more important to structure your assistance work properly.
From my understanding Westside uses RE work for unique circumstances and only when necessary. Ltl summed up RE work:
Westside also has RE which is repetition effort which can be used to replace max effort work with the goal of letting injuries heal or addressing weaknesses in terms of size or technique.
I don't see these RE usages as periodization, but more as a means to an end for gaining strength. It is a puzzle pieces inserted when required.